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L. Lee Janssen retires as editor of Sun-Gazette | News, Sports, Jobs


L. Lee “Laura” Janssen announced his retirement as editor-in-chief of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

When promoted to head of the editorial department on October 1, 2017, Janssen became the first editor-in-chief of the community newspaper.

In this capacity, she managed the newsroom and was an opinion page editor while continuing to direct and mentor young journalists.

“It’s bittersweet to see a trusted and talented colleague retire after such a productive career. We are sad to see her go, but excited for her new chapter in life. I am grateful to have worked with Laura for so many years and her work ethic is amazing ”, said Bob Rolley, editor of Sun-Gazette.

“The Sun-Gazette is fortunate to have wonderful, hard-working and dedicated employees and Laura has set that pace. She leaves with an accomplished work.

Janssen joined the Sun-Gazette editorial team in 1984 as a general reporter.

She covered a number of major news stories, reporting on education, municipal government and federal courts before joining the editorial team in 1997 as a regional editor. She was appointed city editor in 2000 and news editor in 2002, where she spent 15 years coordinating news coverage and photography among full-time staff and correspondents and planning summaries. news for the daily edition.

As editor-in-chief, she also oversaw the development of a number of special projects. These range from staff-wide corporate projects to pre-election political sections to the Sun-Gazette’s annual Person of the Year project.

Janssen is the founding editor of West Branch Life magazine, which is published quarterly and distributed to home subscribers of The Sun-Gazette.

She also researched and compiled the book, “A Community Cornerstone: The Official History of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette”, tracing the lineage of the newspaper since the founding of the Lycoming Gazette in 1801.

“I have had an amazing and rewarding career here at the local community newspaper in my hometown,” Janssen said. “It has been an absolute honor to have a front row seat to witness the growth and rejuvenation of our community. I have nothing but hope for the future of our region.

Janssen has won numerous awards during his nearly four decades with the newspaper, including the State Keystone Awards for “A community keystone”, West Branch Life magazine and online journalistic innovation in 2009, among others.

Born in Williamsport to Donald Sr. and Hazel Koch, Laura L. Koch graduated in 1974 from Williamsport Area High School.

At the time, young women for whom college was out of reach could find a direct path to employment through courses offered by the high school’s business department. There, she learned shorthand Gregg from teacher Mary Miller, a skill she would use throughout her life.

“I got a very solid foundation from the classes I took at our local high school. Although I eventually decided on a different career direction, I relied on the skills I learned in these business courses to help me as a journalist ”, she said. “They have really helped me be successful in life.”

When she first became a clerk stenographer, she really wanted the opportunity to go to college.

Her path to college was opened by the Air Force, where she became a flight simulator specialist.

Stationed at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, she was the first woman in a men’s store.

“The Air Force gave me many life lessons and deepened my appreciation of God, country and community, which has served me well in my chosen profession.” she said.

Four years later, Janssen returned to Williamsport with two sons, Christopher and Dana Janssen, and fulfilled her dream of studying at university.

She studied journalism at Williamsport Area Community College, then at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, where she graduated with Distinction in 1984.

She joined the Williamsport Sun-Gazette soon after and hasn’t looked back.

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